The Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSH) sector presents particular challenges for logistics providers. This is due to the sensitive nature of LSH cargo, the industry's specific transportation needs — such as temperature-control compliant to GDP requirements — and increasingly strict regulations relating to goods distribution.

So, in 2008, DHL Innovation Center launched DHL SmartSensor, cutting-edge monitoring technology specifically designed for the LSH sector. Recently, DHL SmartSensor reached an important milestone: since 2010, it has been used to monitor more than one million shipments worldwide.

'The internet of things' — where everyday objects send and receive data via network connectivity  — has long thought to be the next big hi-tech disruptive innovation to make an impact on the world. But DHL SmartSensor was one of the first solutions to turn this idea into a reality. That's because SmartSensor's GPS and RFID technology offers near real time tracking of shipments and powers DHL's key temperature-controlled products including DHL Air Thermonet and DHL Ocean Thermonet.

DHL Air Thermonet exclusively uses DHL SmartSensor RFID for measuring ambient temperature during the course of transportation of LSH air freight shipments. Its data can be analyzed in retrospect via the online web portal and is available 24/7 worldwide.

SmartSensor RFID – Technology

DHL SmartSensor RFID – Summary

SmartSensor RFID
Monitors temperature data during the course of transportation. It can be used in air, sea, and land transportation without restrictions because it is a passive device based on UHF RFID technology. The data can be analyzed in retrospect via the online Web Portal and are available 24 / 7 worldwide.
SmartSensor RFID is a plug and play solution – It causes no interference to the existing IT-infrastructure

DHL SmartSensor GPS — a small device packed inside the shipment that sends real-time data to the solution’s web portal — makes it possible to monitor the transport of highly sensitive freight anytime and anywhere. In addition to measuring the temperature of shipments during transport, it also measures humidity, shocks, brightness and location. This solution is being used to create visibility for the DHL Ocean Thermonet product, which was announced short time ago.

SmartSensor GPS – Technology

DHL SmartSensor GPS – Summary

SmartSensor GPS
Measures temperature, humidity, shock and light data and identifies the geo location during the course of transportation. It can be used in sea and land transportation without restrictions. The data can be analyzed near real-time via the DHL online Web Portal and are available 24 / 7 worldwide
SmartSensor GPS is a plug and play solution and a stand alone device – It causes no interference with the existing IT-infrastructure

Being used to monitor a million shipments isn't the only impressive SmartSensor statistic. Over the last six years, 62,000 SmartSensor devices have been deployed — mainly by the LSH sector — submitting over 600 billion bytes of data and taking over 160 million temperature measurements.

Published: September 2016

Images: Fotolia, DHL